10 Old-School Tech Skills Your Students Never Had To Deal With


So I was born in the Ice Age at the time when this bad boy was considered cutting edge and the biggest technology concern I had it was making it through the Oregon Trail without dying of dysentery (and I always got dysentery). It has me thinking about all of these technology skills I learned as a child of the eighties that are completely obsolete now. So here are some of the things that your students will never have to deal with. Number one: your current students never know the struggle of sitting in front of a boom box with the finger on the record button just waiting as you listen to the radio for your favorite song to come on so that you can make that epic mixtape. Now all they have to say is “Hey Alexa, play my favorite song” and it just plays it for them. Number two: your students will never know what it’s like to have your fingers covered in purple because of the ditto machine. Number three: your students will not know how to navigate the dark art of the microfiche machine where you would have to magically maneuver around the articles and have these weird, creepy-looking, faces that would stare at you as this opposite other world. Number four: unjamming slide projectors. Yeah, your students have never had to do that before. Number five: this one has nothing to do with the classroom, but everything to do with my childhood. It’s walking through the kitchen and not getting clotheslined by the 90 feet of phone cord that’s wrapped around every single object as my mom would talk and talk and talk. It was like the Matrix getting around this thing. Number six: saving something Into a disk and also being super duper worried that your disk is ging be erased because it was too close to a magnet. Number seven: your students will never have to experience listening to the super slow, super low version of “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” because your Walkman batteries are almost dead and you are going to milk them for every last bit a battery juice that’s left. Number eight: students will never have the experience of sitting absolutely still in the car because you don’t want anything to make your Discman jump. Number nine: your students will not know how to fix the cassette tape using a pencil. Number ten: your students will not have the experience of picking up the phone and listening on the other line and just waiting for their sister to finish her conversation so they can get online and press the dial up button and wait for five minutes so that they can read an article online. Now we just have phones. Here’s the thing, your students will never know what it’s like to try to get a cartridge to work and to blow on it with the hopes that somehow that would magically make it work even though scientifically it’s been proven to just make it worse. Your students will never know what it’s like to wait by the mailbox for a letter to arrive or to try to figure out how to use a flip phone and how to decipher strange flip phone text language. That will never have to change the ribbon on a typewriter or wait days (or at the bare minimum, a couple of hours) for film to develop. Your students will never have had the experience of using the map. A real map; not the kind that you have on your phone. This because the technology skills are always changing. We live in unpredictable world and the tech skills that you need right now you’re not going need in the future. On the other hand, there are these things that are timeless like creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, project management, divergent thinking, and they are the things that the machines will never replace. And they are also the very things that you, as a teacher instill when you design and develop a creative classroom. See, the technology skills will change in the future. But the one thing that will never change is the impact you have when you give them those forever timeless skills.

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